What gets measured gets done. Measurement is the heart of any improvement process. It must begin at the outset of the program, be visible, and done by the natural work group itself.
When educators are serious about helping students develop the Habits of Mind, they find ways to make those habits integral to instruction, assessment, and feedback. There is a distinction between assessments of learning and assessments for learning (Stiggins, Arter, Chappuis, & Chappuis, 2004). On one hand, an assessment of learning is a summative assessment. The results are provided, and students move on to the next topic for learning. Typical assessments of learning include final exams, benchmark tests, and state tests. Their purpose is to judge learning, and the audience for the results includes individuals other than the students. On the other hand, assessments for learning are used to guide feedback and coaching for students. Often referred to as formative assessments, they are designed for students to know how they are maturing and developing toward a higher and more skillful level of performance and excellence (Armstrong, 2006). The feedback and coaching are valued as a significant part of classroom instruction, providing the indicators and evidence on which more objective judgments can be made. Assessment without feedback merely serves as judgment. Feedback is the part of assessment that enables us to make sense of judgment and improve our work. Educators must consciously create school cultures that require both feedback and assessment. This chapter considers different ways to achieve this goal.